The Future of Agile Configuration Management: 2006 and Beyond

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    • Source Code version control tools have the opposite problem.
       
    • Look for vendors to provide a better out-of-the-box integration to this problem in the near-term, For the mid-term, look for vendors to start storing both requirements and code in an integrated or unified repository so that both can enjoy the benefits of state of the art versioning capabilities along with state-of-the-art metadata/linking and container-based editing capabilities. MKS Requirements already has a jump start on this with their recent requirements management offering (already billed as "lightweight/agile"). Look for fine-grained versioning [15] to play a role in this as well.
  • Lean Traceability - the last bastion of resistance against any traceability will be attempts at Lean traceability:
    • Modularity & Granularity : Efforts to eliminate redundancy and complexity will result in using smaller grained artifacts and having them all "connected" or linked together in a database and/or perhaps an XML Schema using SOAP and other enterprise integration technologies.
    • Auto-Generation and Locality of Reference : There will be renewed attempts to co-locate related information in the same object rather than having to split and track separate objects. And some kind of "literate" document/traceability generation ("build") will extract the necessary information and present/report for the proper stakeholders. This will plug-in to IDEs such as Eclipse (see [16]).
    • Encapsulation and Architecture : Traceability will be done to the largest-grained object scope possible, and intra-object dependencies will be aggressively refactored to remain as cohesive as possible while maintaining low-coupling with other objects (of all types, not just code)
    • Aspect-Oriented Traceability : Ivar Jacobsen [23] writes that use-cases are themselves logical entities that cut-across an architecture, and as such are a natural fit for applications of aspect-oriented development. (Look for AOP and related tool-support to be applied in this manner before it is applied to process architecture.)
  • CM RFID -  On a related note, it may be only a matter of time before l things like RFID have their equivalent in CM with regard to traceability
    • The brother of one of the authors was a logistics officer with the British army in the second Gulf War. He noted the difference an active satellite based RFID based tracking system made in tracking certain types of shipment (only high value items). The financial cost of duplicates being ordered and stores going to the wrong place is massive, let alone the consequences of vital stores not being delivered to front line troops in desperate need
    • Unfortunately, for the majority of stores with passive RFID and imperfect systems in place, things still could be lost once they had left ships. The army recognizes that they need to beef up the system and automate as much as possible. The more people are required to take manual steps, even if that's to pass a reader near a passive RFID tag, the greater the chance of mishap.

Trends toward Enterprise CM Administration/Deployment
Life will start to get better for us poor souls who have to administer, deploy and support full-fledged SCM solutions across an entire enterprise (agile or otherwise). Things may actually get worse before they get better, because it may take some time to get different technologies and standards sorted out before the winners begin to emerge. Expect to see things like the following:

Full Application Lifecycle Management - look for the scope of CM (even enterprise CM) to be expanded to include activities even earlier in the product lifecycle, such as product management and marketing, portfolio management and planning, integrated systems engineering; as well as later in the product lifecycle to deployment/install/upgrade, and even run-time configuration management & monitoring of run-time components and

About the author

Steve Berczuk's picture Steve Berczuk

Steve Berczuk is a Principal Engineer and Scrum Master at Fitbit. The author of Software Configuration Management Patterns: Effective Teamwork, Practical Integration, he is a recognized expert in software configuration management and agile software development. Steve is passionate about helping teams work effectively to produce quality software. He has an M.S. in operations research from Stanford University and an S.B. in Electrical Engineering from MIT, and is a certified, practicing ScrumMaster. Contact Steve at steve@berczuk.com or visit berczuk.com and follow his blog at blog.berczuk.com.

About the author

Brad Appleton's picture Brad Appleton

Brad Appleton is a software CM/ALM solution architect and lean/agile development champion at a large telecommunications company. Currently he helps projects and teams adopt and apply lean/agile development and CM/ALM practices and tools. He is coauthor of the book Software Configuration Management Patterns, a columnist for the CMCrossroads and AgileConnection communities at Techwell.com,  and a former section editor for The C++ Report. You can read Brad's blog at blog.bradapp.net.

About the author

Robert Cowham's picture Robert Cowham

Robert Cowham has long been interested in software configuration management while retaining the attitude of a generalist with experience and skills in many aspects of software development. A regular presenter at conferences, he authored the Agile SCM column within the CM Journal together with Brad Appleton and Steve Berczuk. His day job is as Services Director for Square Mile Systems whose main focus is on skills and techniques for infrastructure configuration management and DCIM (Data Center Infrastructure Management) - applying configuration management principles to hardware documentation and implementation as well as mapping ITIL services to the underlying layers.

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